From our friends SacTRU and also noticed by Ridership for the Masses. Mayor Steinberg is appointing a member of the private sector to the SacRT Board. This seat will replace one of the Sacramento City Council seats currently filled by Councilman Rick Jennings and will serve until the end of 2018. The member of the […]
I earlier produced maps showing how SacRT routes related to population density and income (SacRT with income and population). I also wanted to present a map on employment or jobs – where people are going to on the transit system. It took much longer to track down that data, and I needed help from SACOG’s GIS staff. The employment data is from the Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employment-Household Dynamics (LEHD). The data is normalized over area. The map is below, with the SacRT_employment pdf also available.
Two more maps for your viewing pleasure. The route frequency map classifies routes by their frequency of service, as 12, 15, 20, 30, or 60 minute frequency. Mostly, this means service from 6:00AM to 7:00PM, though it is shorter in a few cases and longer in several cases. Peak only routes are not shown at […]
Yet another map that may help with understanding the service changes (cuts) proposed by SacRT. I attended the SacRT board meeting last evening, where there was a presentation by staff on the service changes (agenda item 13), some public comment, and some questions from the board. The gist of the comments and questions seems to […]
Investigating the proposed SacRT service changes (cuts), I identified that routes serving low density areas are a problem. I developed the map below (pdf SacRT_pop-density) showing routes and population density, with low density areas shown in red. Two routes stand out as servicing primarily low density areas, which are unlikely to ever be productive in a ridership sense. In fact, one of the reasons SacRT struggles to provide efficient transit service is the low-density nature of the county. Though of course agricultural areas north and south of the urbanized area will be low density, there are also large areas of low-density suburb and exurb (sprawl) which will never be successful. Every greenfield development allowed by the county and cities just exacerbates this problem
The population data is from the American Community Survey (ACS) 2014 5-year estimate (S1903), selected by census tract and matched to census tract outlines provided by SACOG, showing residents per square mile. The routes are from the Google Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) provided by SacRT. All routes are shown, including commute hours, low frequency, moderate frequency, and high frequency routes, as well as routes operated by SacRT under contract with others. It would be more useful to identify and/or separate out different kinds of routes, but it takes a while to compile that data, and I’m not quite there yet.
Sacramento Regional Transit (SacRT) has proposed service changes, primarily elimination of routes, most of which would go into effect January 2017, with a few before that and more after than. The proposal is available (summary chart after the jump), and a more detailed analysis is in the Board of Directors agenda (Item 13) for the May 23 meeting. At the May 23 board meeting, the service changes will be an informational item, not a decision. Five open houses on the service changes were scheduled, two of which have occurred, with three yet to go. I attended the open house at SacRT headquarters on May 17.
I was asked for my thoughts on the service changes. Below is a bullet summary, followed by the nerdy details.
- SacRT should make the boardings dot map available to the public. It is the best information I’ve seen to indicate which routes are productive, and which not, more understandable to the public than the tables of numbers in the proposal. Additionally, all maps showing routes, including of course the system map, should have an indication of the service frequency, either by color or weight. The “all routes looking the same” maps that SacRT currently uses do not communicate this critical piece of information.
- A portion of savings from elimination or combination of routes should be reinvested in other routes which could be moved from acceptable productivity to higher productivity with frequency, service hours, or routing improvements.
- Reductions in frequency are counter-productive, usually making a route with challenges into a failing route, which will then be identified in a future round of service changes for elimination.
- Routes serving low density residential and semi-rural areas should be cut before routes serving moderate to high density residential areas.
- Combining routes for more efficient coverage, particularly where routes overlap or are very closely parallel, is a good idea.
- Saturday service should be retained on all routes. Transit-dependent riders who work the usual weekday work week must have service on at last one weekend day so that they can grocery shop, visit friends and family with less mobility, and seek medical care.
- Routes should not be eliminated for at least two years after creation or significant revision. Time is needed to see ridership trends once people in a community adjust to the service. Specifically, this means: do not eliminate Route 65 Franklin South.
- The concept that routes should focus on light rail connections rather than radial routes to downtown, or point-to-point routes, should be considered in all route decisions.
- SacRT should do a complete system re-visioning within the next four years. A series of cuts, and even transit renewal, has left a system that is inefficient and probably unjust. It should be redesigned from scratch.
I have been using the RideSacRT app for a bit of time, and have some initial impressions. When I started, I could not get the app to accept credit cards, which is the only way to pay for tickets. It rejected three different cards (two credit and one debit). I asked about that via Twitter, and […]
Another list of ideas for improving SacRT. This was developed as part of my work with 350Sac Transportation Committee, but again, the ideas are mine and not the committee’s.
- SacRT is the most poorly funded transit system of its size in California; the limited amount provided by Sacramento Measure A (through the Sacramento Transportation Authority) is insufficient to operate a transit system
- dependence on federal funds from most system enhancements and extensions means that the system has not kept up with either population growth or increased demand
- the board, composed of only elected officials, provides poor oversight and leadership
- management is weak, unwilling to explore innovative solutions and accepting of current limitations as permanent
- light rail
- has a poor reputation among many commuters
- no evening service to Folsom
- no service to American River College
- high-floor rail cars are inaccessible to many people
- bus network
- buses are too infrequent to provide effective service, with no routes meeting the definition of high frequency and only four routes meeting the definition of medium frequency
- routes deviate into neighborhoods in an attempt to maximize coverage, but the result is a loss of functionality and timeliness
- land use
- SacRT is ineffective in large part becuase land use decisions have resulted in an urban/suburban/exurban pattern that cannot effectively be served by a transit system
- SacRT has little to no input into land use decisions
- fare card system (ConnectCard)
- the fare card system has been delayed for more than a year
- there is no evidence that the fare card system will address equity issues such as low-income users without bank accounts and credit cards being able to purchase cards and passes
- bike parking
- the lack of secure bike parking at light rail stations and major bus stops reduces transit use and usability
- SacRT has refused to provide on-demand bike lockers at stations, though Folsom has provided them at stations within the city
I attended the Blue Line extension to Cosumnes River College (CRC) Grand Opening this morning at Meadowview station and then at CRC station. It was a lot of fun. There were more politicians in one place that I think I’ve seen, and they were justifiably proud of their part in supporting this extension, some having worked on it for years. [Photos on Flickr]
A number of speakers talked about linking the colleges, in this case Sacramento City College and Cosumnes River College. An increasing number of students apparently take classes at more than one campus in order to get the ones they need, so this extension is expected to help them, whether they don’t have a car or just choose to get around in a more convenient and more responsible way. Folsom Lake College’s Rancho Cordova Center is very close to the Mather/Mills light rail station. The Cosumnes River College’s Elk Grove Center will be on light rail if the Blue Line is extended to Elk Grove (Blue Line Phase 3). American River College’s Natomas Center will be on light rail if the Green Line is extended to Natomas. All of these connections are great, for students and for the community.
Unfortunately, American River College’s (ARC) main campus in North Highlands was barely mentioned. Brian King, Chancellor of Los Rios Community College District, said that ARC was served by a robust bus system. Unfortunately, that is not true. ARC is served by Route 1 (Greenback) on a 15 minutes frequency, and Route 82 (Howe-65th) on a 30 minute frequency, which is hardly robust service. Route 82 only runs until 9:30PM, missing students with later classes or who are staying to study, and who need to make connections to other buses or light rail to get back home.
Houston has been in the news recently, and will certainly be today, opening day, for their revised transit system which created a network of high frequency (service every 15 minutes or better, 15 hours a day, 7 days a week) transit lines. The map below left shows this new system, only, and clicking goes to the high resolution image on the Houston METRO website. The map below right shows the entire system, with lines that don’t meet the high frequency definition. The system was redesigned with the help of Jarrett Walker, transit consultant and author of Human Transit, which I posted on yesterday and will be posting a lot more in the near future.
So, what’s the story in Sacramento?